Watching "Battleship" is like getting ready to play the board game on which the film is based but then having to sit through an hour of vacation photos from a trip to Boringville, USA, before you can start. If you can make it through that hour, the rest is kind of fun.
The first half is the plodding introduction of Lt. Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch), a renegade who's saved from his failed life when his brother, Stone (Alexander Skarsgård), makes him enlist in the Navy. The film's full of trite dialogue, such as the speech Stone gives Alex when he says, "Who do I call to teach you humility? Sorry, I don't have that number."
The script by Erich and Jon Hoeber suggests that Hopper has no respect for authority or rules, but he rises through the ranks pretty quickly. It also suggests that while he does things his way, he also won't marry the Admiral's daughter, Sam (Brooklyn Decker), because he's afraid to ask for her hand in marriage. For a renegade, Hopper's not that rebellious.
Hopper needs all the rebel spirit he can muster when his ship gets trapped in an energy dome by a group of invading space aliens whose first despicable act of horror is to shut down all the cell phones and the Internet. If Hopper can't stop the scouting party of E.T.s from phoning home, the web-less Earth is going to become the new home for the space invaders.
The screenwriters have both hits and misses. They came up with a clever way to incorporate the grid structure of the board game into the movie. But, there is that dull first half, and there's no clear explanation of the aliens' actions. In some scenes, they kill with abandon. At other times, they scan humans and then let them live.